OIA

Oh boohoo Felix, get over yourself

[John Key’s] valedictory address made no mention of the supportive bloggers he was also in touch with when he was the PM.

At a post-cabinet press conference back in early 2014, John Key said in passing that he did have contact with some bloggers – and political reporters pricked up their ears.

Many of them already reckoned newsworthy information was being channeled to online operators sympathetic to National and its leader, as a means of getting selected messages out via the mainstream media subsequently.

Newstalk ZB?s chief political reporter Felix Marwick was one who had suspicions.

He lodged a series of Official Information Act requests to find out what the Prime Minister and several cabinet ministers were passing on, and to whom.

Some ministers responded to say they?d shared a few bits and pieces with bloggers. Others replied to say they?d shared no information at all.

But he says Judith Collins and Paula Bennett didn?t disclose anything. Neither did John Key.

Marwick has been leaving out some of the important bits. ?Sure, he asked for all the comms between Judith Collins (and others) and Cameron Slater. ? He wasn’t the only one.

There were a number of problems for Felix on his numerous OIA requests. ?One, the actual volume of correspondence was very low or non-existent. ?And where it did exist, the minister involved used genuine reasons under the OIA to deny the request.

“Right”, I hear you say, “pull the other one!”. ? Read more »

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1 in 10 OIA requests get stuck

Government agencies handled Official Information Act requests on time in more than 90 per cent of cases, according to State Services Commission figures.

The figures for the year ended June 2016 covered 110 agencies and are the first set to be published.

They show 40,273 OIA requests during the period, with about half being received by police, the Earthquake Commission and Corrections.

An average of 91 per cent of responses were handled on time, while the median rate was 96 per cent.

State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes says the number of requests is a large one and agencies are investing a lot of resources in responding.

However, he expects them to respond in accordance to the act, which is as soon as practicable, and in a maximum of 20 working days, unless there are grounds for an extension.

During the June year, the timeliness that agencies responded ranged from 39 per cent to 100 per cent on time.

While one-third of agencies reached a rate of 99 per cent or better, a quarter were below 85 per cent.

“Most agencies are working hard to respond on time and are achieving a good standard of timeliness,” Mr Hughes said. Read more »

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Poor little Nicky is upset

zombie-hager

Nicky Hager really is a little weasel. He’s now whinged to the Department of Internal Affairs over the data release of phone records between me and Jason Ede.

He seems to be making a big fuss over the minutes of each call.

I received this email earlier today:

From: Katrina Taylor @ DIA
To: Cam SlaterRE: Information being released to Nicky Hager

Dear Mr Slater,

Mr Hager has contacted the Department and pointed out that we did not include in the information we sent to him the time of the calls and text messages, which was one of the details he had requested.

Time data was actually prepared for release to Mr Hager however an oversight on our part meant that it was not included in the information that was sent to him, or in the data sent to you.

Please find attached an updated table with the time data included.

I apologise for this oversight. The Department will be providing an updated appendix to Mr Hager next week.

Kind regards,

Katrina

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OIA process: “nothing that is malicious, nothing that is deliberate”

The long-awaited report on the way Government departments respond to Official Information Act requests is about to be released.

Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem began the review at the end of last year after concerns were raised about delays in the release of information to the media.

She has investigated allegations of deliberate stalling when ministers or their departments didn’t want damaging reports published.

Dame Beverley last week gave an indication of her conclusions when she told a parliamentary committee she hadn’t discovered any worrying trends.

“Largely there is nothing that is malicious, nothing that is deliberate,” she told the committee.

“I think it’s more about process, practice and policy than it is about anything malevolent.”

Dame Beverley said delays were often caused by the volume of requests and the processes within each agency for dealing with them.

The release of her report today coincides with her departure.

Well, I don’t think that report is very thorough. ? Read more »

Key and PM Office told to stop farting around with OIA requests

The Chief Ombudsman has slammed the Prime Minister for delay tactics of releasing official information.

Dame Beverley Wakem says she intends to introduce a new set of standards covering Official Information Act (OIA) releases, as part of a major review.

Thomas Jefferson once said “information is the currency of democracy”, but it’s not always easy to get information.

Prime Minister John Key has previously admitted his office uses delaying tactics in releasing official information. Dame Beverley told The Nation that’s unacceptable.

“There’s a disregard for the law,” she says.

Information can be accessed from the Government and its agencies under the OIA. They must respond within 20 working days, but several examples have shown that is not always the case.

Emails released in book Dirty Politics showed blogger Cameron Slater was given preferential treatment for released information. ?? Read more »

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Don’t stop at under-secretaries…make the OIA apply to ALL of parliament

Peter Dunne has caused the government to lose another vote in parliament.

He really is a self-important tosspot. There is only a small number of times he is going to be allowed to get away with all this carry on.

The government has lost a vote in parliament, and a bill to bring ACT leader David Seymour under the Official Information Act has passed its first reading.

Mr Seymour is parliamentary under-secretary to the minister of education and is exempt from the OIA, as under-secretaries always have been.

Labour thinks he should be subject to the provisions of the OIA, and brought a member’s bill to parliament to change the law.

Government MPs opposed it. But United Future leader Peter Dunne backed it and on Wednesday night the bill passed its first reading by 61 votes to 60.

Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe drafted the bill and said the exemption was an anomaly. ? Read more »

Fran O?Sullivan, Secret tip-offs and Bullying an OIA Requester

A?concerned citizen passed me OIA documents as a result of his research into Nicky Hager?s book, the book all about me called Dirty Politics. He wanted to out bloggers and public relations people in the pay of the taxpayer and to check out the links with the National Party. Not surprisingly he found zero cash passed to me as (sadly) I am not and never have been on the payroll of the 9th floor in any way shape or form.

What the requester found however was that after OIA?ing for Fran O?Sullivan?s response that the first official response from NZTE about Fran O?Sullivan was on 21st April 2015.

Fran-oia1

But he then found this tweet TWO weeks earlier where Fran O?Sullivan made a snarky comment about him. Coincidence?

Fran0ia2 Read more »

The best summary of facts over Phil Goff’s SIS briefing yet

Rodney Hide has done what no journalist has managed to do, written a summary of the failings of Phil Goff and the SIS briefing her got but said he never did.

And he only needed 450 words to do it.

Security Intelligence Service (SIS) boss Rebecca Kitteridge should have told Phil Goff to get stuffed. Instead she apologised. I wouldn’t have.

In election year 2011 – several Labour leaders ago – Goff was floundering about trying to get a hit on Prime Minister John Key. His attacks invariably backfired.

There was a kerfuffle about supposed suspicious activity by Israeli nationals. Key initially declined to comment, citing national security concerns. He subsequently explained that a security intelligence investigation uncovered nothing untoward.

Goff characteristically attacked, saying Key had made a hash of explaining the hitherto unknown concern and that people were asking: “Are we even now being told the truth?” This was a roundabout way of accusing Key of lying.

Further, Goff asserted he should have been briefed. “It’s not been part of any briefing to me.” Key said that wasn’t true. Oops.

Previous SIS boss Warren Tucker met Goff to refresh his memory. The result was Goff flailing about. “There was no briefing per se … I don’t recall at all seeing the document.”

Subsequently, Tucker provided a heavily redacted agenda note under the Official Information Act on his briefing of Goff and the relevant Security Intelligence report, called Investigation into Israeli Nationals in Christchurch, with Tucker’s handwritten note: “Read by/discussed with Mr Goff 14 March 11.”

Goff then attacked Tucker. “I was not shown the document … Warren Tucker is wrong … I was never ‘briefed’ by the SIS.”

It was election year. Goff was losing. He was lashing out. And he couldn’t say he had forgotten or hadn’t paid attention because that was one of his attack lines on Key.

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EXCLUSIVE: Another Hager and Fisher lie exposed

“Mr” Hager, using my stolen emails, drawing conclusions based on incomplete information, writing a narrative and not checking it with the people involved,?any of the people involved for factual correctness before publishing, has been pushing the idea that I was involved in having a prisoner moved. ? He’s published a lie that Minister Judith Collins organised this.

David Fisher, in his partial and very sanitised “Mea Culpa – I used to be manipulated against my will by Cameron Slater” piece in the Herald the other day may also take note of the fact, instead of how he likes to present things.

Below, is an OIA reply from the Department of Corrections. ?All personal details have been redacted to respect the privacy of the person who requested the OIA. ?A non-redacted copy is in my possession.

1a

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Phil Goff is a liar, but then we already knew that

RAT GOFF

I’ve stayed out of the drama yesterday. ?It is clear that the media aren’t interested in the truth right now. ?Much more fun joining the opposition MPs in the absolute barrage of lies masquerading as news.

In the end, Phil Goff’s day came to a bit of a nasty end as John Key told everyone why exactly Goff was off his rocker.

But it took a ?lawyer to spot the true own goal made by Phil Goff last night: ? Read more »

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